RESPECT:  A Musical Journey of Women 0

Cherry Creek Theatre Company launches their second season as a resident company at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center with a regional premiere RESPECT:  A Musical Journey of Women. The show is a musical review written by Dr. Dorothy Marcic based on her book, RESPECT: Women and Popular Music. For the Cherry Creek Theatre production director Shannan Steele and the company draw an original image of the show and create a gathering of friends celebrating one of the women’s book release. I asked Steele about how the concept developed.

Director Shannan Steele
Director Shannan Steele

EL: RESPECT is often produced as a revue and your production really creates a setting and Character/storyline. How did this approach develop?

SS: After reading the script, I felt there were personal elements for each of the characters that could easily get lost in the traditional review formula where the show is more presentational in nature. I wanted to see if the piece could land in a structure where women felt strong and connected enough to share their stories of struggle with each other, along with discovering the joys of how certain songs helped describe those pains…and then how other songs helped release those pains to allow real JOY to surface.

SS: For a show about the journey of women, I wanted the audience to observe 5 strong women (the show is actually written for 4…I built in the presence of the piano player as a true addition to the room, a fellow woman/friend/support) share their vulnerabilities, inside and out of the context of the music AS WELL as within the actual text. I wanted our journey over the last century not only to be shared through the songs of the time, the political and social achievements, but also through the triumphs available to all of us TODAY. The personal, emotional, perspective enhancing TRIUMPHS we all can find with each other.

Traci Kern and Sharon Kay White

 

SS: This concept required an intimate setting…a place welcoming enough to facilitate the kind of safe space where true sharing can occur. Hence the living room set design.

SS: The piece had windows for this concept to work, and I trusted my cast and crew to dive into the challenge with me. All those WOMEN rose to the challenge and I couldn’t be more proud.

 

Cherry Creek Theatre description of the show:

From “Someone to Watch Over Me” to “I Will Survive,” from the codependence of “I Will Follow Him” to the anger of “These Boots are Made for Walking,” to the cynicism of “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and finally to the strength of “Hero,” RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women” is told through Top-40 music in this timely off-Broadway new musical production.  Combining excerpts of 60 songs with women’s own stories about finding dreams, lost love, relationship issues, entering the workforce, gaining independence and more.

The company proudly highlights this is an all female company:

cast Sharon Kay White* (Janet), Rachel Turner (Samantha), Sarah Rex* (Eden) and Anna High (Rosa).

Along with producer Susie Snodgrass and directors Shannan Steele and Traci Kern, the all female crew includes Kortney Hanson (Stage Manager), Tina Anderson (Scenic Designer), Star Pytel (Lighting Designer), Steffani Day (Costume Designer), Morgan McCauley (Sound Designer), Beki Pineda (Prop Mistress) and Gloria Shanstrom (Publicist).

The audience on opening night, including the male identified attendees, seemed to enjoy the show in equal measure. While the evening unfolded I found myself responding to the music of course, after all they include so many great songs, and I also realized I wanted to know these women.  It would be great fun to be part of this group of friends, and join in for one of these gatherings, and in a way, for this night, we all were.

Cherry Creek Theatre Company presents the Regional Premiere of

RESPECT:  A Musical Journey of Women

Written by Dr. Dorothy Marcic

Directed by Henry Award Nominee Shannan Steele

Musical Direction by Traci Kern

February 1 – February 25, 2018

performances are:Thursdays and Sunday, February 18 & 25 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:00 p.m.

Single tickets are $35; $30 for seniors/students online at 303-800-6578 or online at www.cherrycreektheatre.org.

Interviews with  creator of RESPECT:  A Musical Journey of Women Dorothy Marcic


http://www.respectthemusical.com/about.php

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Eden Lane is a freelance journalist based in Denver Colorado

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Disney’s Aladdin at The Denver Center – A Wish Granted 0

It shouldn’t surprise many to hear me say I LOVE most things Disney. Movies, Theme Parks, and Musicals.  The special wonder of my childhood is given freedom to squeal, giggle, and dream. If you share that affection for the big, splashy, earnest shows Disney is known for then you wont want to miss Disney’s ALADDIN while the tour is bringing Agrabah to life at the Buell.

For me the three wishes granted in this tour are Michael – James – Scott. (Well, also the costumes…and the sets…and the music…and the company…okay, they granted several of my wishes.) Michael James Scott (he plays the Genie) is a Megawatt Showman.

 

Denver Center_Disney's Aladdin_Photos by Deen van Meer

Michael James Scott Photo By Deen van Meer

About Aladdin

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, the show features music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) 

Aladdin, adapted from the Academy Award®-winning animated Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical.  Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance.  This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage

Denver Center_Disney's Aladdin_Photos by Deen van Meer

Arabian Nights Women. Disney's Aladdin Original Broadway Company. ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

Aladdin_3x3.375_Show Tile

Please be advised that the Denver Center for the Performing Arts – denvercenter.org – is the ONLY authorized ticket provider for Disney’s Aladdin in Denver. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker, or any third party, run the risk of overpaying or potentially buying illegitimate tickets. If they do, they should be aware that the DCPA is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and are unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance. Patrons found in violation of the DCPA Ticket Purchase and Sale Terms and Policies  may have ALL of their tickets cancelled.

Q&A with Playwright Rebecca Gorman O’Neill 0

And Toto too Theatre Company is presenting two one act plays THE WAY STATION & THE SOUTH STAR by Colorado Playwright Rebecca Gorman O’Neill.

THE WAY STATION is the story of three strangers from different places and times, each pulled out of their travels and dropped off at a mysterious way station. At this surreal crossroads, no excuse, lie, or self-delusion holds up to scrutiny, and each person must find the strength to face his or her own dark secret, only then may they move on.

SOUTH STAR is set seven years in the future, during the second American Civil War, South Star is the story of a survivor, an inspiration, a reluctant hero who wishes she could just stop running. Stel finds herself in the company of two people – one an apparent victim, and one an apparent predator. What commences is a figurative game of three-card-Monty; the stakes are Stel’s life.

Here is my Q&A with Playwright Rebecca Gorman O’Neill 

Rebecca Gorman ONeill

Eden Lane:

 The Way Station and South Star are one act plays that share a few elements but do not seem directly related. How do you describe them, and did you conceive them as companion pieces?

Rebecca Gorman:

I would describe the Way Station as a mystery, and South Star as a suspense story.   The two of them do share some elements that I always find intriguing: 1 – a space that doesn’t belong to any of the characters – a space that is on the way to another space and 2 – a trap: a reason the characters can’t leave.  In The Way Station, the trap is physical, in South Star, it’s psychological.  Also, I love a 3-person play.  They provide a great opportunity to keep shifting alliances – one person is always against two, and you can keep shifting that dynamic around.

I didn’t specifically conceive them as companion pieces – South Star is much more clearly a companion to my full-length, The Greater Good, which And Toto Too was the first to produce – but I love the way that they’re coming together under Susan’s guidance. The actors, I hope, get to have fun showing some range, and, like any 2 pieces of art when you put them side-by-side, one gives a different context to the other.

EL:

After reading these plays I first thought of Rod Serling, (like you he also taught writing) not as a direct comparison, but simply as a salute. Is there any connection to his style for you?

RG:

Oh absolutely!  The Way Station is very much inspired by The Twilight Zone, which I think is a classic of American Literature.  I think that Rod Serling, (and Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King) are strong influences on my writing.  They are giants.  So if you see the salute, I’m more than flattered.  South Star a little less directly inspired.  That idea came from an immersion in literature about the WWII French Resistance movement.

EL:

What drew you to writing one act plays?

RG:

One-Acts are how I learned to write plays.  I started writing plays in college, and took the (two) playwriting classes my college offered.  My mentor, Peter Parnell, encouraged us to write for the One-Act Festival my school hosted, which is how I got my first productions.  The length and the limit of the one act suited me – I like compact stories.   One acts were all I wrote until grad school, because it’s all I thought I knew how to write.

EL:

On the New Play Exchange you write that you are “bored of cynicism and I appreciate cleverness.”, how did that point of view develop for you?

RG:

Thank you for reading my NNPX page!  I sometimes think I’m whistling in the wind on that one.  OK, so, I teach, and I’m a judge for a couple play contests, and the result is that I read a ton of plays.  (I also watch a lot of TV and movies) a ton, mostly by beginning writers, who tend to lean comfortably back into being cynical about the state of, well, everything.  But then I sometimes get to see cleverness – innovation – something I haven’t seen before. That’s so, so exciting.  Cynicism is a place where one can rest. Cleverness is like a call to action, innovation, and movement.

EL:

How would you describe working with And Toto Too Theatre Company?

RG:

It’s straight-up wonderful working with And Toto Too.  Susan and I figured out that we had been working together in some capacity since the first Play Crawl, 2010.  They produced a reading of, then a full production of The Greater Good , which went on to be published.  Susan takes such good care of her actors, designers, and playwrights.  She’s professional and focused, and what’s really lovely, is I always feel in very good hands.  I trust And Toto Too with my work, and I have always been treated with care and respect.  I’m really very grateful for this opportunity.

EL:

Anything else you would like to share?

RG:

The actors are wonderful! The set design is exciting!  The Lighting designer is talented!  I’m very much looking forward to seeing how And Toto Too brings the plays to the stage, and I am really, very proud to be working with And Toto Too again.

The Way Station & South Star

The Way Station & South Star by Rebecca Gorman O'Neill. April 19-May 5 got tickets https://www.andtototoo.org/buytickets/

Posted by And Toto too Theatre Company on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

April 19-May 5, 2018
Thursday-Saturday-7:30pm
ASL performance April 27

For Ticket Information

The Way Station and South Star-Two one Acts
by Rebecca Gorman O’Neill
Directed by Susan Lyles

Starring Kate Poling, Seth Palmer Harris and Austin Lazek

Set & Sound Design Darren Smith
Light Design Alexis K. Bond
Stage Manager Carol Timblin
Fight Choreography Benaiah Anderson